New Acropolis Cultural
(Asociación Cultural Nueva Acrópolis)
By Clifton L. Holland
Last revised August 10, 2001
Founded in 1957 in Buenos Aires by Jorge Angel Livraga Rizzi and his wife, Ada Albrecht, this organization, with international headquarters in Buenos Aires, claims to have more than 10,000 members in more than 40 countries. Professor Livraga Rizzi was born in Buenos Aires in 1930 of Italian ancestry, and he died in 1991 in Madrid, Spain. He allegedly studied medicine, philosophy and the history of art at a university in Buenos Aires and was the author of numerous books and articles: the study of ancient cultures and civilizations, novels, philosophical essays and reflections on the contemporary world, among others. His house in Buenos Aires is now a museum, maintained by the New Acropolis Cultural Association, where his achievements are honored and preserved. Some of Livraga's books and articles, as well as those of some of his disciples, are available in an electronic format on the Internet at: www.acropolis.org
New Acropolis is a post-Theosophical movement that combines elements from many sources: theosophy, esoteric thought, alchemy, astrology, and oriental and Greek philosophy. Although, it claims to be a humanist organization, independent of political and religious ties, some of its former members in France have accused the organization of being right-wing and promoting Fascist and neo-Nazi ideas. The alleged use of paramilitary language, symbols and forms of organization, along with recent charges of brainwashing, have led to many criticisms of New Acropolis in Europe, especially in France, since the mid-1970s.
The New Acropolis movement promotes the idea of a universal "philosophy" or "tradition" upon which the world's different religions and esoteric traditions are based. However, it emphasizes Western rather than Eastern esotericism and particularly focuses on Greek philosophy in the tradition of Pythagoras and Plato, according to Introvigne.
"The stated aim of New Acropolis is to help each member reach his or her Higher Self and to reclaim a higher consciousness that, while normally dormant, is preserved in the esoteric schools and accessible through symbols, the active use of imagination, the study of one's own dreams, and other techniques. The Higher Self, in turn, is a gateway to the Cosmic or Universal Self, described as a collective archetypal reality. When an adequate number of human beings achieve that Higher Self, the Universal Self may emerge as collective consciousness and may have important social and political implications. Although the society inspired by the collective consciousness of the archetypal Universal Self has been described in different ways throughout the history of the movement, it is certainly different from modern democracy. Indeed, the founder's criticism of contemporary democracy (quoting Plato and other authors) is often offered by critics of New Acropolis as evidence of the movement's "reactionary" or "fascist" attitude, although other texts by Livraga and his successors unequivocally condemn nazism, fascism and more recently the National Front in France." (Massimo Introvigne in "Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates")
The New Acropolis website lists member organizations in the following countries: Argentina, Costa Rica, Japan, Paraguay, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, USA and Venezuela. Also, similar organizations that use the same name are known to exist in Mexico, Colombia, Belgium and France.
New Acropolis Cultural Association, Amenabar 863
1426 Buenos Aires, Argentina
New Acropolis Cultural Association website: www.acropolis.org
Introvigne, Massimo, "Defectors, Ordinary Leavetakers and Apostates: A Quantitative Study of Former Members of New Acropolis in France," available on the CESNUR website at: www.cesnur.org